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Government to continue annual backdoor subsidy of €46m to Irish Water – Ó Broin

Sinn Féin spokesperson on water, Eoin Ó Broin TD has call on the government to explain why it is giving Irish Water a backdoor subsidy totalling €138m over three tears that is not being provided to other public utilities.

The backdoor subsidy is the result of the de-rating of Irish Water since 2015 resulting in an annual loss of €46m in revenue to local authorities, which is then compensated for by the State.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“In response to a parliamentary question on the de-rating of Irish Water, the Department of the Environment confirmed that for the third year in a row, Irish Water will not pay any rates to local authorities. The government will compensate local authorities for this substantial loss in revenue, to the tune of €138m in total by 2017.

“The government is effectively providing another subsidy to Irish Water through the backdoor.  Irish Water is the only public sector utility that is not paying rates to local authorities.

“The government has a number of serious questions to answer on the financial viability of Irish Water.

“Firstly, why is Irish Water receiving special treatment? Why is the company the only public sector utility to be de-rated?

“How much of Irish Water efficiency savings are made up of this ‘back door’ subsidy?

“And is this subsidy one the reasons the government could not get Irish Water off the state balance sheet?” 

Note: Please see relevant PQ and response from the Department attached.